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How Could My Father Leave?

May 07, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 169

With divorce being so prevalent many children are being raised in single parent households or in households where the father figure is not their birth parent. Whilst many step fathers do an admirable job, it can still be an issue for children; questioning how or why their father was able to walk away, and especially walk away and leave them.

When children question how their father could leave they may think:

- He puts his own needs before mine. Children need reassurance that by leaving the family home their father's intention was to leave their mother, not them. A serious consideration for many divorcing parents is the desire to end the bad atmosphere at home and so avoid further damage to their children. Arguments, long silences and tension between parents can be a destructive environment for both parents and children to live in. But children may question their father's loyalty and think that he is being selfish in leaving them.

- He doesn't love me. Children are very sensitive and can feel rejected and unloved as a consequence of their father leaving. It can make them feel not good or loveable enough. They may feel that if he loved them he would have been unable to leave or even that he was relieved to be leaving, that he didn't care enough to stay or that they were especially bad, unpleasant or unworthy of him staying.

- Some children feel distressed that they weren't asked which parent they would like to live with. It is often assumed that children will live with their mother, but some children have a better relationship with their father and would choose to live with him if they could. Practicalities may make it a difficult or impossible option, but children may not fully understand or comprehend the reasons behind the decision.

- He'd rather be with someone else. Seeing their father with another woman can be difficult for children, especially if that woman has children of her own who live with her/them. They may feel that he favours her children, that those children have become a part of his new life, whilst his own children have become part of his past, a time in his life that he has chosen to walk away from.

Let's look at ways to smooth the transition:

- It is often best if both parents tell the children about the divorce together. That way questions can be answered, reassurance can be provided and they can see that it was a joint decision, not simply Dad walking away and leaving them. Personal issues between parents are best minimised at this time to avoid one parent being perceived by the children in a bad light.

- Reinforce that they are loved and that they will see their father regularly, can talk to him on the phone or via email whenever they want or need. It is easier for all if father lives fairly close to the family's home, otherwise seeing the children for a quick visit, taking them to school or calling for parents evenings can become very difficult logistically.

- Be sensitive to the children if there is a new girlfriend on the scene. Some men decide to live on their own for a while after the divorce to allow their children to settle and become accustomed to the split. Then they may gradually introduce the idea of a girlfriend to their children, letting them see her for short periods until they get used to the idea.

Divorce is often a time of huge disruption for children. They get used to tension between their parents, come to accept arguments as normal. When parents decide to divorce it is important for them to be sensitive to their children's needs and help them to come to terms with the situation. Take time to listen to what they say, how they behave and appreciate the impact that enforced changes and upheaval have had on their lives.

Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief and with couples in crisis to improve communications and understanding, especially at times of change and transition.

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Source: EzineArticles
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